President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said: "While we do not know today which vaccine will work best in the end, Europe is investing in a diversified portfolio of promising vaccines, based on various types of technologies".
"We're committed to making any vaccine that is developed through this collaboration affordable and through mechanisms that offer fair access for all people", GlaxoSmithKline CEO Emma Walmsley said in April.
The U.S. government has a further option for the supply of an additional 500 million doses longer term as part of its Operation Warp Speed program.
The companies also announced a deal with the United Kingdom for 60 million doses of the vaccine on Wednesday, but the value of the deal was not disclosed.
If any succeed in the coming months, supplies are likely to be limited, making it hard to immunize global populations and halt the virus's spread. However, health care providers could charge to administer the vaccine. The company expects to begin clinical trials to test for safety in September, followed by late-stage efficacy trials before the end of this year.
The two companies' inoculation is combination of a vaccine based on Sanofi's flu shots and a complementary technology from GSK called an adjuvant, created to improve the vaccine's potency.
Sanofi, which is working on two vaccine projects including one in partnership with GlaxoSmithKline, was not immediately available for comment. Any profits will be reinvested in coronavirus research, preparation for future outbreaks and manufacturing capacity, it said.
Sanofi and Glaxo are following a number of other developers in the coronavirus vaccine race. Pfizer and partner BioNTech SE said Friday that they'll supply 120 million doses of their vaccine to Japan in the first half of 2021.
The Commission is now negotiating with several vaccine developers to strike similar deals, it stated, adding that it is ready to team up with worldwide partners if a "significant number of countries would agree to pool resources for jointly reserving future vaccines from companies for themselves" and for low and middle-income countries at the same time.
Funding for Sanofi's efforts will be paid out based on hitting certain milestones, according to the French company. The drive is being led by General Gustave Perna, who directs the US Army Materiel Command, and former Glaxo executive Moncef Slaoui.